City Gives Approval for Hemp Farming

Jacob Bell

New Member
A plan to establish and develop a hemp industry in the Western Cape has been given an enthusiastic thumbs-up by the city’s economic development and tourism portfolio committee.

According to Tony Budden of Long Street’s Hemporium, hemp is an enormous untapped industry with the potential to address many of the city’s social woes, including in the areas of housing, unemployment and health.

Budden presented his views on the hemp industry to the committee yesterday.

Hemp products are mostly imported and crops may be cultivated locally only with a permit allowing the cultivation of narcotic drugs, issued by the Department of Health.

Industrial hemp contains only negligible amounts of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol, which is found in dagga.

Budden was bombarded with questions yesterday from curious committee members.

After Budden’s presentation, chairman Pat Hill confirmed that the committee supported – “with some enthusiasm” – Hemporium’s plan to apply for a licence to grow hemp commercially.

Budden said the Western Cape was the ideal place to cultivate hemp crops. However, he said the country was being left behind in the wake of other countries that were already reaping the commercial, social and ecological rewards of industrial hemp production.

More than 30 countries produced industrial hemp, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Chile, North Korea, Uruguay and nine US states.

The world’s leading producer of hemp was China, which, according to Budden, had set a target of creating 3 million jobs in the industry over the next 10 years.

Budden said hemp had the potential to create “an entire new industry for the Western Cape, and particularly for the City of Cape Town”.

It also had the potential to create up to four times the number of jobs associated with wheat cultivation.

Processed hemp had many uses and over the past 15 years several business, including Woolworths, Nando’s, Levi’s, Billabong, Clicks, Sappi, DaimlerChrysler, Unilever and Concretex, had shown “a genuine interest in locally grown hemp”.

Even in the government there was no shortage of people who supported industrial hemp production, Budden said.

“All we are asking for is to create an enabling environment for research so we can prove it is viable,” he urged.

While a sceptical Koos Bredenhand, of the ANC, initially put Budden through his paces, he was apparently won over after being shown raw hemp products, one of which he declared to be “beautiful”.

It also helped changed his mind when Budden explained the difference between hemp and dagga.

With the support of the city, Hemporium will now attempt to obtain the necessary permits for local hemp production. - Cape Argus

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